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University of Texas: Open Access Historic Documents Created Modern State of Texas

Cover image of the Constitutive Acts of the Mexican Federation 21 of January, 1824, also Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States October 4, 1824. Laws of Texas. Compiled by H. P. N. Gammel. 12 vols. Austin: The Gammel Book Company, 1898. Volume 1, pp. 71-93.

Austin, TX  The Tarlton Law Library at the University of Texas School of Law is pleased to announce the release of the redesigned open-access Texas Constitutions 1824-1876 web site:

The web site contains the founding documents of state of Texas including the constitution and declaration page images with HTML text transcriptions, the constitutional convention journals and debates, searchable PDFs with links to constitutional provisions, a subject index, and the printing history for each founding document. These historically significant documents helped to create the modern state of Texas.

Steps towards making these documents widely accessible began in 1999 when a Texas Treasures grant enabled the digitization of founding documents, HTML transcription, and the development of an initial website. By 2002 convention journals and debates had been digitized and PDFs with bookmarks and hyperlinks were added along with a subject index. A 2010 graduate student project provided an evaluation, a cost/benefit analysis, a redesign prototype, and usability testing. From 2011 until 2013 the web site was remodeled to improve both resource management and user experience.

Makeover highlights

• cakePHP framework enables global updates, enforces consistency, and accommodates growth
• Navigation and layout updates provide better site/corpus context for users
• In-depth content review, revisions, additions
• Higher quality page images for founding documents, more image display options
• Embedded PDF viewer for journals and debates
• Streamlined search with Google custom search engine
• Addition of Spanish images and transcriptions where available
• Printing history for each founding document